Defensive woes, walks doom Mariners in loss to Guardians
March 31, 2023 Updated Fri., March 31, 2023 at 10:47 p.m.
SEATTLE – The Cleveland Guardians were shut out on four hits in Thursday’s season opener against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park.
They were better Friday night and Steven Kwan was the reason. Kwan tied a career high with five RBI as the Guardians outhit and outhustled a Mariners team that committed four errors in a 9-4 win.
Kwan had a sacrifice fly in the third, a two-run double in the fourth and a two-run single in the fifth. The last time he drove in five runs was on Sept. 25 when the Guardians clinched the AL Central with a win over Texas.
Hall of Famer Larry Doby and Kwan are the only Cleveland players to have a five-RBI game within the first two games of a season. Doby did it against Detroit on April 16, 1953.
The Guardians, held to one extra-base hit and three singles in Thursday’s 3-0 loss, finished with 13 hits . Every starter except Josh Bell, who walked twice, had at least one hit.
Rookie Hunter Gaddis started and lasted 32/3 innings. Five relievers finished the game, throwing 51/3 scoreless innings.
In the fifth, Kwan’s two-run single with the bases loaded gave Cleveland a 7-4 lead. It was his second consecutive two-RBI hit in the game. Amed Rosario followed with an RBI single to make it 8-4.
Kwan’s well-placed double gave the Guardians a 5-3 lead in the fourth. It also ended left-hander Robbie Ray’s night.
After Andres Gimenez drew a leadoff walk and Myles Straw singled, they worked a double steal to put runners on second and third. Kwan’s double fell just inside the left-field line past third base to deliver both runs.
Julio Rodriguez doubled off Kwan’s glove in left field to make it a 5-4 game in the fourth after Nick Sandlin relieved Gaddis with two out in the fourth.
Gaddis started the third with a 3-1 lead, but it didn’t end that way. Cal Raleigh lined a two-run, two-out single to left field to tie the score at 3. With runners on second and third, two out and first base open, catcher Mike Zunino visited Gaddis. If they were thinking about pitching around Raleigh, it didn’t work.
The Guardians scored three times in the second to take their first lead of the season at 3-1.
Oscar Gonzalez opened the inning with a single. Gimenez moved him to second with a bunt single. Ray, struggling with his command, walked Zunino to load the bases.
Then the inning got interesting.
Straw sent a fly ball into foul territory down the right field line. Teoscar Hernandez made the catch and threw home as Gonzalez bluffed that he was tagging up at third. Hernandez’s throw hit Zunino in the back as he was returning to first base and bounded into foul territory between home and third base.
Gonzalez scored as Ray, backing up the play at home, retrieved the ball and made a hurried off-line throw to the plate. Gimenez scored when Ray’s throw got past Raleigh at the plate. Hernandez and Ray were charged with errors on the play.
Josh Naylor added a security run for Cleveland with an RBI single in the to make it 9-4. Jose Ramirez, who opened the inning with a double, scored.
Seattle took a 1-0 lead in the first on a leadoff double by Rodriguez and a single to right by Kolten Wong.
Gaddis, starting in Triston McKenzie’s spot in the rotation, allowed four runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Ray, who threw 13 scoreless innings against Cleveland last year, allowed five runs, three earned, in 3 1/3 innings. He walked five and struck out two.
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